In April, a Canadian collision repair business held several regional meetings in order for their employees to voice their concerns and ideas with fellow employees. These meetings, which apparently drew in large crowds in the province of Quebec alone, provided all members of the chain to participate in discussions and presentations, as well as a supplier tradeshow.

This opportunity for all employees of a growing business to have a say in the status of a business sounds like a new concept, especially since it is one that doesn’t typically happen here in the States. However, as our Tucson body shop found online, this may not be such a novel idea.

Our Tucson body shop recently came across this article from the Huffington Post about the benefits of creating a business culture that promotes idea sharing. Peter Arvai, a co-founder of Prezi, discussed some of the same ideas that Fix Auto was promoting in their regional meetings and includes how these can influence the longevity of a business. There were three ideas Arvai listed that our Tucson body shop found particularly striking and beneficial to businesses.

The first listed in the article: that idea sharing in a business can promote a strong sense of purpose among employees. This sense of autonomy can assist employees in feeling they are all working toward a similar mission with similar values in place, which encourages employees to put in their best effort. One way in which the Fix Auto regional meetings showed this idea in practice was through encouraging employees of all levels to participate in the meetings. While it appears to be a small gesture, it shows the value placed on all levels of a business and encourages employees to remember they are working towards the same goals.

Another idea Arvai listed that our Tucson body shop thought to be interesting: that idea sharing can create authentic relationships in a business. When those in leadership positions are able to place their egos aside and listen to what other employees have to say about the current and future direction of a business, it encourages everyone involved to know their contributions are important. This is something Fix Auto accomplished through their regional meetings as employees of all levels–employees, owners, partners, and executives–were able to talk about the direction of the business and have the opportunity to know their opinions were heard.

Finally, our Tucson body shop read that idea sharing can encourage businesses to take risks in how they run their business. Arvai stated that “company cultures need to reward risk-taking,” particularly risks that may push productivity levels or forge a new path for the company. Doing these may range from increasing the number of clients an employee gains to creating an entire new division to even choosing to split ways with a vendor; it depends on what employees of the company share to be important factors in the operation of the business. Fix Auto showed they were willing to do this as discussions were held around topics such as vendor issues and the current and future direction of the company. This is something we hope to see more businesses do in the future in order to increase their chances of surviving in a slow healing economy.